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Membership All Call

Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association

Membership All Call

December 23, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Over the last two months, the number of COVID 19 infections of H-1 Members and other Department of Corrections staff and inmates has increased dramatically in the prison system. Two staff members have died from virus related complications and more are being continuously quarantined after being potentially exposed or testing positive. This situation cannot continue.

We have been told by the Wolf Administration and DOC leadership that the best way to contain the spread of the virus is to stay home and limit interactions with other people. Yet the DOC continues to conduct inmate transfers throughout Pennsylvania, potentially exposing hundreds of PSCOA members to infection. These transfers are dangerous and must be halted until this current virus surge is under control.

For the last two weeks PSCOA has worked hard to get this information distributed through media interviews and Letters to the Editor placements with multiple news organizations publicly calling on the Governor and Secretary Wetzel to stop the transfers. We have also sent letters to all House and Senate members who have an SCI in their district asking them to call for halt.

The situation continues to deteriorate and now I am asking for your help. The attachment to this letter is a listing of the contact information for each member of the Legislature who has an SCI in their district. We are asking you, your family members and your friends to reach out to the members representing your SCI via phone or email to tell them it is unsafe to continue transferring inmates while the virus is surging. Tell them how overworked and exhausted you are and the toll this is taking on you and your family.

There is little to no doubt that transporting inmates across the Commonwealth is contributing to the spread of the virus. We have never experienced positivity numbers like we are seeing now. Because of the spread of COVID, we are now experiencing massive amounts of overtime, to include mandatory overtime. When members need to quarantine or test positive for the virus, shift rosters still need to be filled. Tell them that lockdowns and halting transfers is the best way to protect members and their families.

The Governor and the Department of Corrections has thus far refused to listen to our concerns. The threat of you contracting COVID or taking COVID home to your family, is a stress that the membership has endured since the outbreak began. The D.O.C. has compounded this stress because inmate “needs” are being considered before the REAL needs of H-l members and their families. Institutional daily schedules have been altered to make sure that the “needs” of the inmate population can be maintained.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to contact the House or Senate member who represents your SCI. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to discuss this further.

Sincerely

John Eckenrode

Western Region Vice President 

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